Plans as of 4/20/05. Relatively minor edits relative to 4/1/05 revision except cave design changed substantially.
Elevations and the model photos below are from the 4/1/05 version of the plans.
Plans as of
First schematic plans by Arkin and Tilt. 1/29/05 Three options with elevations and floor plans shown for each.
Below is a document that we put together describing some of the goals of the project. This document is now fairly old. Sorry the pictures got lost somwhere along the way when this was transmitted as an e-mail.
1871 Mt Veeder Landscape General Description
This picture is from 2000. A formal survey map is shown at the end of this document. When we purchased the property in November 2000, the place had not been cared for much and was overgrown with ivy. We’ve gotten rid of all of the ivy (A) where it is covering the garage and pretty much everything else there. There is an old working cistern under the ivy in this picture which has been cleaned up and is a significant (20%) source of year-round irrigation water for gardens and orchard. The ancient septic is located at (B). The crumbling sitting wall is the grayish line marked by (C). We think a swimming pool of some, to-be-designed flavor might go nicely somewhere along where the current wall is located. The black rectangle outline might be a good place but we are very open to alternatives. There is a falling down old pergola (D) with a failing shade garden under it. There are some large old Camillas along the north edge of the house and lining the driveway close to the house. They produce copious quantities of gorgeous Camillas in the late winter. The house area is very effectively screened from the circular driveway/orchard/ag-yard (E) by a set of old trees. The ag yard (E) is actively used for tractors, attachments, crawler, pick-up trucks, etc. as well as party parking. It has some 80+ year old producing pear trees and some newly planted (last year and this) peach, cherry, plum and apricot trees. The house and gardens abut the non-native forest (F) that rises rapidly beside the house. It needs stabilizing. We’ve created a path through the woods but the oak trees appear to have Sudden Oak Death and several are falling each year. We need a solution to this problem. The area used to be redwood trees. We would be happy to have the existing forest/woods become increasingly redwood. This might offer appeasement to Napa County Permitting Processes. There is a steep area (G) which is very visible from the current kitchen window and miserable “guest” bedroom/bath. The (G) area has access to the beginning of the path through the woods. It currently contains a rock floored patio and several cherry trees of various health.
View from the sky with a very rough outline of our 23 acre ranch. About 1 acre is house and gardens plus fruit trees, 4.5 acres in recently replanted vineyard and the remainder is hilly forest or woods. Several areas of the forest are suffering from many down trees; probably Sudden Oak Death.
Our ancient septic system must be replaced and we want to use a greywater system for some of the landscape and orchard watering that will be necessary. The replacement system that gets installed in place of the current tank will depend on it. We have had a perc. test performed and know that it percs poorly. If we do anything other than plug replace the septic tank, we will need either an engineered system or a mound system. If we create a system for grey water we may be able to open up our options. This is critical as we don’t have a lot of flat space for a mound system.
We have done a geological survey (30 foot test drilling, etc.). The area is 30 foot of soil, expansive on the surface (at least) and it is an “ancient landslide”. We have 5 drilled wells and a cistern for a reliable water supply plus 4.5 acres of vines and numerous fruit trees varying in age from 80 years old to just-planted this year. We have PG&E electricity, an older oil-fired furnace but no propane currently. We know we will need something other than electricity to heat a pool/spa. We also have plenty of firewood from our ~18 acres of woods adjacent to the house. We have a very extensive survey around the house, vineyards and the adjacent hillside near the house. A JPEG of the survey is included at the end of this document. The place gets 40 inches of rain from about early November through end of March. We have extensive erosion control on the lower vineyard. We need to address erosion control on the upper vineyard. During the winter there are several natural springs which sometimes emit water through June.
Our goals both short and long term are to merge with the location in a low maintenance way, have great entertainment locations, comfortable and inviting viewing areas and welcoming teenager areas. We want the indoors to be able to merge with the outdoors at every opportunity. We are likely to remove the house, re-using materials as possible, and start over. We might be up for re-doing rooms as we go along since our children are 10 and 7 and we don’t want to miss time to engage them and their friends with the Napa home. However, the current foundation is subsiding unevenly (after 80+ years) and certainly not up to current engineering standards.
1871 Mt Veeder Landscape Work General Outline
We are unsure of whether to tear down the house and rebuild it immediately or wait until our kids are teens. We want the area circled by Red in the above picture to be addressed first and the area by Blue next.
The Red area includes:
a) Creation of a greywater system to:
i) Offset the volume the septic has to deal with; decrease engineering demands
ii) Increase number of bedrooms supported for least amount of engineering
iii) Appease the county as possible
iv) Re-use greywater for re-naturalizing the woods areas with redwoods and/or additional fruit trees
b) Implementation of new system including possibly moving the “holding tanks” for both grey and black water
a) Complementary to the surroundings
b) Entice kids and teens for visiting and playing
c) Propane and/or solar heating. Wood?
3) Replace/recover the crumbling rock wall
a) Clear subsidence happening
b) Obvious cracks and leaning
c) To the east of the walnut tree, create viewing areas up the valley to the west
d) Retain mature avocado, walnut, lemon and orange trees as possible
e) Integrate play structure and children’s play area. They may be moved.
f) Party area including use of the wall for seating
The Blue area includes:
1) Stabilizing the hillside
2) Re-naturalizing the forest
3) Part of the beautiful view for the compound
4) Enabling access to the forest path including:
a) Stabilizing the path
b) Naturalizing the path
c) Enabling possible tasting terrace with cave for the (probably far) future.
The Orange area includes:
1) Orchard development
2) Party/agricultural parking
3) Covered car entry to house
4) Shade garden
We want a plan for all three areas. Implementation priority is first the Red area followed by the Blue then the Orange area. We want to have the Red area done ASAP (this year?; code requires hillside mechanical work to occur between April 15 and October 15). Greywater collection and forest edge naturalization to stabilize the hill would be next (some or all of Blue). The Orange area depends on our decision regarding the house plans.
Below is the surveyed data we have so far. The contours were measured by Brooks and Associates then imported into our Manifold GIS software. The house is at 999 feet elevation as measured by Brooks. The numbered lines are vine rows. The dashed-X’ed line is deer fence. The forest area is on the deer side of the fence. We have installed a narrow gate at the entrance to the forest path we’ve started. The house, gardens and vineyard are inside the deer fence that is created by the fence on our property and that of our two other neighbors: Strauss to the north and Domain-Chandon to the east and south. There is a contiguous deer fence that about 80 acres of grapes depend on to keep deer out. Our house and gardens benefit from the attention given to the deer fence in defense of the grapes. While deer have occasionally gotten inside the fence, they prefer grapes to roses. We got a dog this summer which should further enhance protection against deer.
The area to the left of the plot below is the forest which we would like advice on stabilizing and conversion back to native forest. An earlier owner of the property harvested redwoods for various things including the columns and cross-bars on the decrepit pergola still standing on the north of the house. The redwood trunks inside the pergola columns are probably re-useable.
The last diagram is an enlargement of the survey work surrounding the house. It shows all of the existing rock walls and larger trees. The small rectangle below the wall is the crumbling septic tank. The circle on the right is the working cistern. Substantial trees up to the dirt road above the house are surveyed and plotted.